The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Of the hundreds of dessert recipes I have on my blog, I realized that I didn’t have a chocolate cake recipe so I changed that.

With the easiest, one-bowl, five minute, from-scratch chocolate cake you’ll ever make.

If you’re addicted to cake mix, you can break free. I’ve been there.

I made this cake without a mixer and it was ready to go from bowl to oven in less than five minutes with just a couple turns of the whisk.

I’m the first to admit that cake mixes can be great because they’re convenient, the results are nearly guaranteed, and they produce moist and light cakes.

This scratch cake does the same.

Except it’s darker, richer, and more intensely chocolaty than a cake mix chocolate cake, which is a good thing if you like a nice dark, deeply chocolaty, chocolate cake.

One way in which I kept the cake moist was by adding yogurt, which can be replaced with sour cream if that’s what you have on hand. Just don’t use light or diet yogurt or sour cream. Use thicker or Greek-style full-fat yogurt. You’re making chocolate cake, not diet food, so forego the watery diet yogurt.

I also kept the use of baking powder to a bare minimum because I find it dries out cupcakes, muffins, and cakes. The recipe uses just enough to give the cake lightness and lift so that it isn’t confused with the denser and flatter chocolate slab that we all know as a brownie.

Finally, I do love butter and will almost always choose butter over oil in baking; except when baking a cake. Oil produces a moister cake in my experience and since all that lovely buttery flavor is going to be masked anyway from the cocoa powder, you’re not giving up anything in the flavor department and gaining worlds in the moisture category by using oil rather than butter. A win-win for oil.

Not sold on the cake yet? Allow me to sell you on the chocolate ganache.

Ganache is made by heating cream and pouring it over chocolate and I kept this ganache super simple by heating the cream in the microwave. You could heat it over the stove, but why bother.

The beauty of the ganache is that even after it sets up, it still has a juicy quality to it in comparison to say buttercream frosting, which can become a bit hardened around the edges after it’s been exposed to air for a few hours. Crunchy frosting is never a good thing.

If frosting can taste elegant and classy, this ganache is how; as opposed to this frosting which is more along the lines of a finger-lickin’ good frosting.

There’s no sugar added to the ganache and it’s only as sweet as the chocolate you select, which in my case was semi-sweet chocolate chips. Go as milky or dark as you enjoy. Feel free to spike your ganache with a couple tablespoons of bourbon, rum, or a fancy flavored liqueur.

Skylar requested this cake for her next birthday and Scott said, “Good idea, honey. This cake does taste like chocolate birthday cake tastes.”

Yes, of course it does because most chocolate birthday cakes are cake mix cakes.

Now you can bypass the cake mix and make this in five minutes instead.

The Best Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache - The best chocolate cake I've ever had, and the easiest to make! Nothing fussy or complicated & delivers amazing results every time! 

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The Best Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache

This is the best chocolate cake I've ever had or made, and it's the easiest. One bowl, no-mixer, no creaming ingredients, and nothing funny. This cake is fast, easy, and always delivers amazing results. You can bake it as cupcakes, too. The ganache is rich and velvety, and the perfect pairing with this deep, dark, not-too-sweet, and very moist cake. The cake is a reader favorite!

Yield: one 9-by-9-inch square cake, 12 generous pieces

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 25 minutes

Total Time: 90 minutes, to allow for cooling


Chocolate Cake

1 large egg

1 cup granulated sugar

6 ounces plain, vanilla, or chocolate yogurt (thicker Greek-style preferred, do not use diet, fat-free or light yogurt; sour cream may be substituted)

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup brewed coffee, room temperature or warm

1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

Chocolate Ganache

9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (about 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)

3/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or optionally use 1 to 2 tablespoons rum, bourbon, coffee-, orange-, raspberry-, chocolate-flavored liqueur)


Cake - Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a 9-by-9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine egg, sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla, and whisk until smooth and combined. Add coffee, cocoa powder (I used Hershey's), and whisk vigorously until batter is smooth and free from lumps.

Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and whisk vigorously until batter has just combined, about 1 minute. Note about coffee: The coffee does not make the cake taste like a coffee-flavored cake. Rather, it brings out and enhances the flavor of the cocoa powder and adds depth of flavor; I highly recommend coffee but use water if you must. The coffee can be any temperature other than piping hot; you don’t want to scramble the egg.

Pour batter, which is a loose and fairly runny batter, into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until top has set and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan completely, at least 30 minutes, before adding ganache or frosting the cake, or before slicing and serving. Unfrosted cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or store frosted cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Chocolate Ganache - Place chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften chocolate; set aside.

In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, heat the cream (I used half-and-half) on high power just until it begins to bubble and show signs of boiling, about 60 to 75 seconds.

Pour hot cream over chocolate and let it stand about 1 minute. Whisk vigorously until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and velvety.

Add vanilla or optional flavorings and stir to combine. Set bowl aside for about 10 minutes, allowing ganache to cool and thicken a bit. Whisk mixture briefly before pouring all of it over the cake. Lightly smooth and spread the ganache with a spatula or offset knife. Allow ganache to set up for at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving the cake; or speed this process up by placing pan in the refrigerator or freezer briefly.

Related Recipes

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars – these use cake mix but the preparation method isn’t traditional

Mounds Bar Chocolate Coconut Cake Mix Cookies

Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting – my favorite brownie base recipe which is as easy as making brownies from a box, I promise; and it’s the brownie base I use for all brownies before doctoring them up with other add-ins or tweaks

Frozen Chocolate Pudding and Wafer Cake (No-Bake, 3 ingredients)

Chocolate Cake Batter Milkshake

Do you have a favorite from scratch cake recipe?

Feel free to link it up; chocolate, yellow, vanilla, carrot, red velvet, whatever it is as long as it’s amazing.

How often do you use cake mixes?

I did a 15 Recipes Using Cake Mix (But None of Them Actually Make a Cake) post and since then, I’ve really cut down on the amount of cake mix I use. They have their time and place, and I will always use them I’m sure.

However, I’d like to post more classic type recipes on my blog and an easy, but practical, tasty, and moist chocolate cake from scratch was a good place to start.

346 Responses to “The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache”

  1. Faye — April 27, 2015 at 2:13 am (#

    Dear Averie,

    I found your recipe while searching for yet another moist chocolate cake recipe, having been let down by so many that promise so much but end up being a disappointment. Your recipe was an absolute winnner – this is the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten and I am very proud to say I have made – thank you! If you don’t mind, I will be sharing this far and wide with credit to you. Thank you again!


    Averie Sunshine Reply:

    Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you and that it’s the best you’ve ever eaten or made!


  2. Ozge — April 27, 2015 at 12:10 pm (#

    I had been looking for an easy yet delicious chocolate cake recipe all day to use some of the frozen sour cherries in the fridge. 
    I just made a chocolate sour cherry cake based on your recipe and it turned out fantastic! First,  I cut the recipe in half except for the egg and I had to leave out vanilla, coffee and unfortunately the ganache. I am kinda short of ingredients.
    I only had homemade full fat yogurt and I used it. I added my frozen sour cherries on top of the batter.  
    I am very pleased with the result, in fact right now I am heading kitchen for one more slice before bed :) Next time I am gonna make it with the chocolate ganache. 


    Averie Sunshine Reply:

    Thanks for trying the cake and glad it came out great for you even with all the substitutions and the cherries sounds like a wonderful addition.


  3. Karen — April 29, 2015 at 4:22 pm (#

    Would it be possible to almost double the ingredients and make this a little larger in a 9×13 pan? Baking longer, of course…


    Averie Sunshine Reply:

    I think that sounds about right. If you read through the comments, pretty sure others have doubled and it’s come out just fine in a 9×13.


  4. Mahdiya -Madz's Kitchen- — June 1, 2015 at 4:45 pm (#

    Hi Averie, I tried your chocolate cake, and it was just awesome! My husband doesn’t like chocolate cake because its always so dry and not moist, but this he ate and told me he can eat it all day!


    Averie Sunshine Reply:

    Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you and that your husband is a big fan, too!


  5. Heidi — June 15, 2015 at 4:49 pm (#

    Hi, so I’d like to try this cake out but I live in Asia and as we’ve had quite a few oil scandals here, I’m rather reluctant to use the local vegetable oil here. I only have access to overseas Olive oil and overseas butter. Which should I use for this cake? And if it’s butter, should I be using 1/4 cup? 

    Thanks so much! Awesome looking cake by the way!


    Averie Sunshine Reply:

    It’s hard to say because I’ve only made this cake with oil. That’s what keeps it softer. I’d be reluctant to use butter. I also know that olive oil will add a distinct flavor that I know some people bake with it, but I don’t. Take a risk and use the local oil is my suggestion!


  6. Heidi — June 15, 2015 at 11:43 pm (#

    Unfortunately the last time I tried local oil in cake, my kiddo got the runs till I put two and two together and started using butter (yes, I did multiple attempts…I am not the smartest of mothers, I admit). 

    Thanks anyway!


  7. Julie Howard — June 20, 2015 at 6:25 pm (#

    Do you have to refrigerate this cake?


    Averie Sunshine Reply:

    I do if it’s warm out when I make it but not in the winter; your call.


  8. Malak — July 6, 2015 at 12:46 am (#

    Averie the chocolate cake was amazing! My husband had two slices and he says he is trying to loose weight. My question is, could I add walnuts in the batter next time? I was just craving a bit of crunch with it. 
    Thank you ! 


    Averie Sunshine Reply:

    Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! So much for your husband’s diet, huh! :)

    I think you could definitely add walnuts to the batter next time. Enjoy!


  9. Mari — July 20, 2015 at 9:00 pm (#

    can your recipe be baked in 3 6-inch round pans? :D


    Averie Sunshine Reply:

    People have baked this cake in so many ways if you read through some of the previous comments. I’ve never done it that way but others have done lots with this cake so you may enjoy reading what people have tried. Enjoy the cake!


  10. aiza — July 21, 2015 at 9:10 pm (#

    hi! this recipe looks delicious and want to try this for my little one first birthday. instead of using 9×13 cake pan can i use cupcake pans?? for how many degree Fahrenheit is needed and for how long should i bake it??


    Averie Sunshine Reply:

    People have baked this cake in so many ways, including as cupcakes, if you read through some of the previous comments. I’ve never done it that way but others have done lots with this cake so you may enjoy reading what people have tried by way of the previous comments. Enjoy!


  11. Mari — July 22, 2015 at 9:09 pm (#

    heh i tried it out, extending the bake time by another 5mins or so.
    the chocolate cake turned out just right and moist! i made coffee buttercream instead of ganache. 
    im so happy because it all came together and it was my first time to make a 3-layer floral cake!
    thank you so much for the recipe! 


    Averie Sunshine Reply:

    Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!


  12. zouhair najjar — July 25, 2015 at 6:14 am (#

    very delicious recipes, How I can sign up for newsletter


    Averie Sunshine Reply:

    See Item #3. on this list Enjoy!


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